Ah, the cloud. That sort of nonexistent place on the Internet—or is it?—where all sorts of stuff is stored and retrieved at your leisure.
If you’re not a part of the cloud revolution, you really should get with it. It’s the easiest way to backup documents, photos, and other stuff without the need for carrying around one of those little thumb drives that in 2003, cost as much as $59.99 for only 256MB (after $50 instant rebate and $20 mail-in rebate)! And with the advent of smartphones, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t take the cloud plunge.
That’s because with more people using their phones as cameras these days, chances are they will have lots of photos on them and unless you’re like me and backup your stuff to a PC or external drive weekly, a majority of users simply don’t backup because it can be a hassle. Who wants to take the time to sit in front of a computer, connect their phone and transfer all of those things? (And honestly, step back and ask yourself: when did I last backup my images? If it takes more than a minute to answer, you’re risking it, buddy.)
That’s one area where Dropbox comes in handy. I’ve been using Dropbox almost since the beginning and have fallen madly in love with it, even more so once I bought my first smartphone. This free* service will not only store your stuff in the cloud, it will also sync all of your stuff on your account to all devices that have the app or software installed on them. It will also store the files locally on that device and what’s edited on one will be pushed to the others.
So if you upload an image from your phone, it’s now available on everything. In fact, Dropbox now features a Camera Upload folder where images from your phone’s main photo folder are stored. No physical connections required—do it over your phone’s network or Wi-Fi (recommended to avoid excessive data usage) either manually or automatically as the app sees fit.
Ubiquitous. Available on everything with a touch of a screen button. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
But images are only part of the story. It’s come in handy on those occasions when I was contacted by potential job interviewers who wanted a copy of my resume. It was as simple as getting their email address, composing the email, attaching my resume from Dropbox and sending it off. You can also create a link and send that instead of the actual document. Clicking the link will initiate a download of the file and folders can also be easily shared with non-Dropbox users.
Even if you’re using another computer or don’t have your phone, you can still retrieve or upload documents through their website. It doesn’t get any easier, and there are no data transfer restrictions like other cloud storage services whose name doesn’t have “drop” but does end in “box.”
Basic accounts start off with 2GB of online storage but refer your friends and they will throw in 500MB, a step up from the old incentive of 256MB, for each referral who joins and installs the software on their PC. With referrals, basic accounts max out at 16GB which is a hefty amount of storage for most.
Imagine, up to 16GB of free online storage. That would have cost you $8319.36 in 2003 based on the $129.99 for the 256MB drive I mentioned early on—without rebates!
Simply put, Dropbox rocks. It’s a fantastic, free, and easy way to store your stuff and always have access to it.
Sign up today and claim your own little piece of the cloud. You won’t regret it.
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